Each year, The Brooklyn Hospital Foundation hosts the Founders Ball, an annual event held primarily for fundraising purposes. This year, the proceeds of the 2005 Founders Ball will benefit a specialized and comprehensive Geriatric Unit. The geriatric population is the fastest growing population in the country. Concurrent with this rising population is an ever-increasing need for comprehensive care addressing both medical and psychosocial concerns. This enhanced unit will provide a multi-disciplinary continuum of care, and thereby strengthen services provided to patients during hospitalization. The unit will also be designed so that all furnishings, equipment, nutrition, and medical supplies are consistent with the needs of the elderly patient.
According to Dr. Mahnaz Ahmad, Chief of Geriatrics, The Brooklyn Hospital Center (TBHC) is in dire need of a Geriatrics Unit, which is sorely lacking in the hospital and in the community at large. Explained Dr. Ahmad, "The construction of this unit is going to be from a grassroots level - we need to break down the walls and rebuild. This remodeling will ideally include non-glare floors, special lighting, new bathroom fixtures suited for the elderly, and lower beds, among other essential items. This is a major environmental, architectural, engineering and remodeling renovation for The Brooklyn Hospital Center."
Dr. Ahmad added, "Right now, the patients are scattered throughout different floors and units within the hospital. It's important to teach the Nursing Staff the proper care for our elderly population and have the ability to provide our geriatric patients with the quality care that they require. However, because there isn't a definite Geriatrics Unit and patients are housed in different sections of the hospital, there are constant changes - staff members and nurses are different from day to day; shifts change - it's very difficult to get any sense of consistency when administering medical care to these patients. We need the consolidation of a unit.
Furthermore, Dr. Ahmad noted, "Our hospital is affiliated with at least 29 different nursing homes. Adding a Geriatric Unit will be a major attraction to TBHC - having a team designed and dedicated to the elderly population's needs will benefit the community immensely."
According to statistics, 13% of the American population is age 65 and older. By 2030, 25% of the population will fall into this age category. Currently, the life expectancy is 73 in males and 80 in females; life expectancy in 2050 will be 80 in males and 86 in females. Explained Dr. Ahmad, "The population is living longer, and we therefore need to accommodate this growing population for the present and for our future by providing appropriate facilities immediately. Other hospitals already have these units - it is logical that TBHC does this as well, especially with the current population's life expectancy and the community's need for a proper Geriatric facility. Our demographics are affiliated with so many nursing homes; we need to improve the care that we offer to this sector of the population. It's not a 'one-size-fits-all' arrangement where the facilities and the staff that we have are able to accommodate their needs. This section of the population - this age group - has very specific needs and requirements. TBHC has to tailor our care to fit the needs of the elderly population."
On a closing note, Dr. Ahmad remarked, "Every element of this remodeling has to be on-site, consolidated into one specific unit, including staff members - we will require our own social workers, physical therapists, nutritionists, and so on. Overall, we need the care, the attention and the manpower to launch the Geriatrics Unit so that it is as successful as can be."
We are proud of the successful fundraising efforts of The Brooklyn Hospital Foundation's Founders Ball over the decades, and are anticipating the launch of the Geriatric Unit for the benefit of both our hospital and our community. The faculty and staff are looking forward to offering the same quality care to this segment of the population that has made The Brooklyn Hospital Center renowned throughout the community. We are eager to provide the finest in medical expertise and the latest in technology in our Geriatrics Unit - the same type of excellent care that we are able to provide throughout the rest of our hospital will also be available to this vital part of our community.